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The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe

by Matthew Pierce

Goodbye 04:03
Into Narnia 02:06
The Prophesy 03:51
Gifts 04:05
The Chase 01:29
Deeper Magic 05:18
The Battle 03:25
Narnia 02:25


The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe

One of Septime Webre’s favorite childhood books was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. “The story is iconic, and very much about the battle between good and evil, with great lessons inherent in it,” Webre says. “The sense of drama and danger is present, but there are all these fanciful characters that suggest movement, from the faun and the White Witch to the four children.”

Webre and the Washington Ballet have collaborated with Bethesda’s Imagination Stage on a new adaptation of Lewis’ book, with music by Matthew Pierce and libretto and lyrics by Imagination Stage artistic director Janet Stanford, who also directs. The characters of the four Pevensie children—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy—are played by both actors and dancers, who interchange between scenes. “The white witch is a dancer, because we needed that physical, imposing premise,” Webre says. “I knew we could do a very vivid bacchanal for her and her ghouls as she prepares to sacrifice Aslan.”

Aslan is portrayed as an eight-foot puppet, created by local designer Eric van Wyk. “There was a lot of experience sitting around the table, and we’re all storytellers in our own way,” Stanford says of the collaboration. “We wanted to find the intersection of theater and dance and dialogue and music that would convey the essential meaning of the story. People tend to think that childhood is an easy, happy-go-lucky time, but I think we as artists do children a disservice if we trivialize the real issues they face. Real fun and real entertainment should be transformational.”

Sophie Gilbert, www.washingtonian.com


released June 20, 2012

The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe

Concept by Kathryn Chase Bryer, David Palmer, Janet Stanford & Septime Webre
Music: Matthew Pierce
Music Director: George Fulginiti Shakar
Libretto and lyrics by Janet Stanford with additional lyrics by Bari Biern
Choreography by Septime Webre & David Palmer
Directed by Janet Stanford

Edmund: Chris Sizemore
Peter: Jonathan Atkinson
Susan: Dorea Schmidt
Lucy: Carolyn Agan
Mother/White Witch/Mrs. Beaver: Gillian Shelly
Mr. Beaver/Aslan/Father Christmas: William Diggle

2013 Winner:
Helen Hayes Award: Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Musical
Helen Hayes Award: Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences


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Matthew Pierce East Northport, New York

Composer/Violinist Matthew Pierce is celebrated for his new classical scores commissioned by American ballet companies. Born in Brooklyn in 1968, Pierce grew up in Seattle, studied violin performance with Shirley Givens at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and moved to New York where he began writing music for the theater. Pierce has a special aptitude for dance. ... more

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